NYC Healthcare News

Air pollution on freeways may lead to brain damage: Study

March 10, 2016

Experts have not yet called for a complete stoppage of the drug??s use though. ???Physicians should become as educated as possible about the drugs and use them with their best judgment,??? said William Thies, chief medical and scientific officer at the Alzheimer's Association, who was not involved in the study. ???The success or lack of success is such a close call, and the effects are so small, I think a blanket recommendation is very hard to give at this point,??? Thies said.

It is estimated that as many as 5 million Americans and 26 million all over the world have Alzheimer's disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Patients are categorized as having mild, moderate or severe forms of the disease depending on how well they score on a test designed to assess mental abilities.

Thies notes patients can vary widely in their response to the drug. It's possible that some patients with mild Alzheimer's disease do improve significantly, but these positive effects are hidden because many other patients in the trial do not improve. ???We don't have a good way of picking out who will respond ahead of time,??? Thies said. He called for further studies to provide a better idea of which patients benefit most from the drug. Gary Kennedy, M.D., the director of geriatric psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center, in New York City, says that while the new study will ???make people more appropriately cautious,??? it isn't likely to change doctors?? prescribing practices.

The trials were originally sponsored by Forest, but the new analysis was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and other non-industry sources.  Dr. Lon Schneider Schneider has served as a consultant for Forest.